Ales Bialiatski's “Englightened by Belarusian Issue” prohibited for improt in Belarus

2014 2014-01-06T22:53:48+0300 2014-01-06T22:53:48+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

In early January, a member of the Board of the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" Tatsiana Reviaka received a letter signed by the deputy chief of Ashmiany customs A. Datchuk, which states that the customs received from the General Directorate of ideological work, culture and youth affairs of Hrodna Regional Executive Committee a conclusion of the expert committee on the results of the examination of the book “Enlightened by the Belarusian Issue", written by human rights activist and political prisoner Ales Bialiatski. The text of the expert conclusion wasn't submitted to T. Reviaka, though she asked about it after being informed about sending the book for examination.

Bear in mind that it is already the second examination, appointed by the State Customs Committee,
as the experts failed to present specific findings concerning the questions put by Ashmiany customs after the first examination.

According to the findings of the first examination, the book of critical literary essays, written by A. Bialiatski "can damage the image of the Republic of Belarus". There is still no information as to what the conclusions of the re-examinations are. However, as it is stated
in the letter, "according to the results of the two customs examinations and on the basis of Chapter 1.3 of the Common list of goods subject to bans or restrictions on the import or export by the Member States of the Customs Union within the Eurasian Economic Community" Tatsiana Reviaka should arrive to Ashmiany customs within 10 working days "for the purpose of re-export to the territory of the Republic of Lithuania " of 40 copies of the book. The fact that the book is regarded as a banned publication listed in Section 3.1, one can conclude that the results of the examination are again disappointing (such prohibition concern the editions calling for extremist activities or terrorism, containing pornography, aimed at propaganda of Nazi symbols, election campaign materials made in violation of law, and materials that can harm the political and economic interests, national security, public health and morals).

T. R
eviaka intends to appeal the procedure of appointment of the expert examination, as far as the ideology department of Hrodna Regional Executive Committees has no legal powers to conduct such activiities. She also points that according to the law the expert warned about administrative or criminal liability for knowingly giving false conclusion during customs examination, and warning any experts about such responsibility is not mentioned in any documents of the state agencies, which casts doubt on examination itself . Ashmiany customs will be also proposed to suspend execution of the re-export of books for the time of the court proceedings.

Let us remind that in early July 2013 40 copies of the book by A. Bialiatski "Enlightened by the Belarusian Issue" were seized by the Belarusian customs officers at the border crossing “Kamenny Loh” and sent for examination for the content of extremist materials.